Schools and Content Production

I’ve been struggling with an idea, but I don’t have it complete yet.

First, it appears that schools are moving toward services instead of hardware in the technology realm. Fewer school-owned and provided computers, but more high quality subscription databases and resources.

Second, it appears that online searches are opening up a much broader spectrum of information, ideas and conversation than every before, and this makes the student’s learning experiences more interlinked with broader national and international perspectives.

Third, personal technology makes it easier for schools, teachers and students to become content producers. We can self-publish ideas (like I do on this blog), and we can share the work of our peers and students (as we will soon with our US student newspaper). Teachers increasingly create their own course packets and information links, and students’ work can be shared and appreciated by a growing audience.

In this productive state of affairs, do schools become like publishing houses and “peer accredit” work by admins, teachers and students? The valuing of individual work and ideas is pretty critical in a world of so many conversations. I’ve always thought of our Upper School as a type of research institution, but now I’m wondering if even more layers of that analogy are coming on line.

In that vein, there are many questions, such as the role of previous years of work by students. Is it hidden, or made full use of by current and future students? If we do, what level of copyright permission is required? Even in my film and video class, I pause and think about how many previous products by students to share and discuss. At the same time, I see my students as independent creators and respect their achievements.

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